Welsh border lockdown causing bookings to drop for Shropshire pub

Staff at a Shropshire pub say bookings have nosedived after the Wrexham border was closed in a local lockdown.

Head chef Jenny Young with staff outside The Lord Moreton, in St. Martin's, near Oswestry
Head chef Jenny Young with staff outside The Lord Moreton, in St. Martin's, near Oswestry

The Lord Moreton, in St Martin's, north of Oswestry, sits less than a mile from the English/Welsh border and welcomes customers from Shropshire, the Wrexham county borough and also those travelling into Wales for holidays.

It's head chef, Jenny Young, says that the tough restrictions brought in for the Welsh county on October 1 has had a serious effect on custom – with staff having to take cuts in their hours.

"The Sunday before the lockdown we served 150 lunches, the Sunday after just 30," she said.

"Our customers from across the border in Wales can't visit us at the moment and, unfortunately, some people from Shropshire and further afield think we are in the Wrexham county borough.

"Our postcode is a Welsh one, although we are definitely in Shropshire.

"So if people look us up on the internet and see our postcode they automatically assume that we are in Wales.

"Holidaymakers going to Wales will also use us as a stop off but, again, large parts of the Welsh coast are out of bounds."

Ms Young said that the effect on the staff had been dramatic.

'The owners have been fantastic'

"We usually have six or seven people working in the kitchen and another six or seven front of house.

"Now it could be two in the kitchen and two out front.

"The owners have been fantastic and have shared the hours out as best then can.

"But they won't get any help because we are not in a lockdown area event though are are being badly affected.

"The staff are really worried. We all love it here and we all work as a fantastic team. It is awful seeing how badly this is affecting the Lord Moreton."

She said the pub was perfect for working with the Covid-19 regulations.

'We have so much space'

"We have so much space it is very easy to observe social distancing and spread the tables out," Ms Young added.

A spokesman for the Poacher's Pocket pub close by said that, as a canalside pub, it would expect a drop in customers at this time of the year.

"It is a difficult time for everyone at the moment, with all the uncertainty," he said.

"It might be that the closure of the border could have an effect on trade but it is hard to say."

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